The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership

In This Review

The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership

By Zbigniew Brzezinski
Basic Books, 2004
256 pp. $25.00
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Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, has written one of the most important books on U.S. foreign policy since September 11. Among the handful of practitioners who write seriously and often about U.S. foreign policy, only Henry Kissinger (another import) can compare with Brzezinski in terms of historical knowledge and imagination. When it comes to what might be called the "philosophy" of foreign policy -- the relationship of U.S. power and policy to broader historical and cultural trends -- no statesman of Brzezinski's generation is in his league. And no Democrat of any age can match Brzezinski's grasp of the national interest and its sometimes difficult relationship to the values of liberal society.

"The Choice" shows these talents hard at work. Brzezinski takes readers on a tour d'horizon of U.S. foreign policy, discusses the inevitable contradictions and tensions that enmesh a democratic society that is also a global hegemon, criticizes the Bush administration, and articulates his own vision of the way forward -- all in a little over 200 pages. Even those who do not accept Brzezinski's critique of the Bush administration will admire the sagacity of his views; for Democrats attempting to assemble a serious and thoughtful alternative to Bush's foreign policy, "The Choice" is indispensable.